How to Effectively Market a Franchise

Lexie LuFreelance Designer and Writer
A UX/UI designer with expertise in marketing, web design, and graphic design.
Owning a franchise can be the dream of a lifetime. It provides a chance for economic growth. You can be as successful as you want.  To make your franchise successful, you need to market it successfully. Here are six of the best marketing strategies for franchisees.
Owning a franchise can be the dream of a lifetime. It is for many people. It provides a chance for economic growth. You can be as successful as you want. It also offers independence and contribution to a community.

That’s shown in how many people love being a franchise. More than 70 percent of franchises say that if they had the chance to start a franchise all over again, they would.

To make your franchise successful, you need to market it successfully. Here are six of the best marketing strategies for franchisees.

1. Define Your Target Market

Don’t rely on marketing to one general customer profile. While “everyone who likes sandwiches” is fine as one of your target markets, more targeted definitions benefit you more in the long run. First, defining multiple target markets allows you to pinpoint their needs. Second, once you have pinpointed their needs, it becomes that much easier to market to them. Third, pinpointing specific needs is a way to build brand loyalty. Brand loyalty keeps people coming back.

Survey your location and surrounding demographics to develop your target markets:
  • Are you in a mall? Then you are the solution for folks who want lunch or dinner after shopping. Does the mall have a destination, such as a gym or bowling alley? Then market to people who visit these locations.
  • Several blocks from a high school? Target the students (not in a creepy way), the parents picking up after school and the sports teams. Feeding teams after practice is potentially great repeat business. What are the demographics? You can market delivery, pick-up and dine-in as options for families, couples and singles.

2. Determine Your Marketing Methods

Once you’ve defined your target market, determine your marketing methods. You need to let your customers know you’re there and how you can meet their needs. You could tell them through:

  • Traditional media, such as television and radio
  • Online
  • Social media
  • Flyers delivered to a neighboring area
  • Coupons to try the product
  • Direct mail marketing
  • Time-oriented sales to get customers in the door
  • Seasonal advertising
  • Billboards
Think about the mix you want to pursue and the likely audience for each. Flyers and coupons work well for families. Social media will attract those in the millennial age group, 18-34. Coupons may exert a lot of marketing power for repeat customers.

3. Develop Social Media Communities

Making social media such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook part of your marketing strategy is a must. To many younger people, social media is the media of choice, not a category. Millennials are much more likely to follow social media channels than to buy based on conventional advertising such as television. They trust social media more.

You need to establish a community on social media as well. The Millennial generation responds well to being able to respond to organizations using social media. It builds engagement with your franchise. 

If you’re in a locale where Philadelphia cheesesteaks are new, explain its merits. Tell stories about its history. Ask them to like stories on your community efforts. Personalize your franchise by posting bios of the staff, or their favorite music or sports teams.

4. Drive Online Traffic to Your Franchise

While much of your marketing will be to target audiences, you also want to make sure that anyone searching for “sandwiches” or “sandwich delivery” online in your area gets your franchise at the top of the search.

One sometimes-overlooked component is to develop a site specific to your franchise. Drive online traffic directly to your franchise site rather than to a general page. A general page that allows searchers to then find local franchises will work, but it’s two clicks rather than one. One click is likely to bring in more customers than two clicks. Internet searchers and hungry people are both impatient! The less obstacles to their optimal food place, the better.

Build a robust site specific to your franchise. It needs to have menus, driving directions, telephone numbers and information directed to people in the surrounding community. Drive traffic there with search engine optimization (SEO).

Remember that “online” is not synonymous with laptops and desktop computers. A large percentage of people order food and find restaurants with mobile phones. It’s not only young people. Smartphones are an increasing part of everyone’s life. Design your online presence with versions for both desktop and mobile versions, or create your desktop version in a way that it will be view able and streamlined when accessed on mobile devices.

5. Engage with Online Reviews

People increasingly get information on restaurants from online review sites. Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Chowhound post customer reviews that cover the food, the décor, the service, the location and more. Be sure to engage with these sites. You can use positive comments to drive your business. Plus, you need to know if negative reviews are out there. It’s part of risk management.

First, make sure you monitor the common sites for any comments about your franchise. Consider working positive reviews or high stars into your marketing plans, both print and online. Second, have a two-pronged response to any negative comments. Does the negative comment have any basis in fact? If it does, fix the issue. Then, post on the site what steps you’ve taken and reiterate your high-quality customer service. Be sure to keep a positive and friendly tone.

6. Monitor Your Marketing

Analyze the performance of your marketing with as much care as you monitor employee performance. Make sure you know what percentage of your business is responding to specific marketing campaigns. Analyze which customers came in as a result of brochures, flyers, television and radio ads, online searching, social media campaigns and more.

Optimize the campaigns that worked the best. If a two-for-one coupon during football season drove sales, be sure to repeat it next football season. If holiday shopping created great weekend business, make sure you’re out in full force next holiday season.

Be sure to analyze the performance of your ad campaigns regularly. Monitoring performance once a month or once a quarter will let you see both robust performance and any declines. You can then adjust accordingly Here are a few tips:
  • Flyers in residential areas, for example, may have a large impact on business in the first few months of your franchise. Why? They’re letting people know you’ve arrived in the neighborhood. But once that’s generally known, that method may lose its return on investment (ROI) potential.
  • Be sure to analyze which marketing methods give the most bang for the buck. Slice your marketing expenditures by how many customers each brought in. How much did those customers spend? This enables you to fine-tune your marketing strategies as your business grows. It also enables you to be flexible as economic conditions change.
  • During economic downturns, disposable income generally drops. Purchases of restaurant food sometimes drop along with income. If you’ve analyzed your marketing successfully, you can continue to draw on the value of your food and brand loyalty.
Effectively marketing a franchise is key to driving your business forward. These six strategies will help you market your franchise optimally, serve your customers, and have a successful franchise for years to come.  

Lexie LuFreelance Designer and Writer
A UX/UI designer with expertise in marketing, web design, and graphic design.

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